Back when Ronald Reagan was union-busting, gutting workers’ rights and trashing the environment, his White House propaganda team was smartly crafting visuals that gave the very opposite impressions: Reagan the Regular Guy, hoisting brown ones with blue-collar workers in a Boston tavern; Reagan the Outdoorsman, in a hardy flannel jacket, posing solemnly beside a Great Sequoia; and so on
Thus were the effects of Reagan’s policies deliberately obscured by Michael Deaver, Keeper of the Presidential Image. He was a master of his craft (they called him “the Vicar of Visuals”); and yet he never could have managed that vast snow-job if the corporate press did not collaborate by running those narcotic images day after day.
So what’s the difference between Reagan and Obama? In this respect (and others), nothing whatsoever. To pick just one example, consider the “organic garden” planted by Michelle Obama on the White House grounds. Officially–that is, according to the New York Times (in a piece that ran in March, 2009)–the purpose of that tasty bit of cropland is to get America’s children “eating healthy.”
“While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at a time when obesity and diabetes have become a national concern.”
To reconfirm the garden’s “message,” the Times quotes a righteous foodie:
“Dan Barber, an owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, an organic restaurant in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., that grows many of its own ingredients, said: ‘The power of Michelle Obama and the garden can create a very powerful message about eating healthy and more delicious food. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it could translate into real change.'”
And that’s how the First Lady’s garden played not long after her husband was inaugurated. But now it’s time to cut the crap: Barack Obama having pledged to make us all eat GE foods–for it is ultimately his USDA, not Tim Vilsack’s–I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Michelle’s garden was a deft stroke of diversionary propaganda, meant to make our ruthlessly Monsanto-friendly president* look just as “green” as Johnny Appleseed, or Michael Pollan.
In any case, Monsanto’s domination of our nation’s food supply will make the term “organic” meaningless, regardless of how pretty all those veggies, herbs and berries look in that nice plot on the Obamas’ heavily-guarded lawn.
*Nor is that epithet a stretch, as Obama has been working hard to serve Monsanto’s interests all along. Last spring, for example, he dispatched a delegation to a WTO meeting to propose revisions in a document, the Codex Alimentarious, that defines the international standards for food labelling. The delegation was instructed to push for restrictions on the labelling of GE foods.
Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House
By MARIAN BURROS
Published: March 19, 2009
WASHINGTON – Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of the South
Lawn on Friday to plant a vegetable garden, the first at the White House
since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be
no beets – the president does not like them – but arugula will make the cut.
While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals
and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to
educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at
a time when obesity and diabetes have become a national concern.
“My hope,” the first lady said in an interview in her East Wing office,
“is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and
that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”
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